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[September 18, 2009]

SUNY Downstate Participates in Reach Out and Read Program:

State Senator Eric Adams Visits Downstate to Read to Children

Doctors at SUNY Downstate Medical Center are sending families home from check-ups with free books and a very important prescription – “read aloud to your children.”  Senator Eric Adams, who represents some of the families served by the medical center, recently paid a visit to SUNY Downstate to read to children and families who participate in its Reach Out and Read (ROR) early literacy program.  He also used the opportunity to tour the facility and see firsthand how ROR helps instills a love of reading in local area children.

New York State Senator Eric Adams said “Nothing can be more gratifying than teaching youngsters skills they will use for the rest of their lives, and doing so in an entertaining and enjoyable way.  I am proud to have worked with Reach Out and Read, a wonderful organization that makes literacy promotion a standard part of pediatric care.  By training medical providers to advise parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children, and by giving free books to children at check-ups, ROR demonstrates to youngsters that reading is the key to success and broadening oneself as a person.  I commend the staff and organizers, and I salute the kids who are now a little more prepared to face the world as educated people.”


ROR works with medical providers across the greater New York area in advising parents about the importance of reading aloud to their children and provides free books at each check-up for children ages 6 months to 5 years. The books are new, carefully chosen, and developmentally appropriate -- starting with board books for babies and moving on to more complex picture books for preschoolers. Through ROR, each child starts kindergarten with a home library of up to 10 books and a parent who has learned through every well-child visit about the importance of books and reading with their children.  Additionally, volunteers read stories with children in clinic waiting rooms, thereby modeling for parents reading aloud techniques.   

“I have participated in Reach Out and Read now for eleven years, three with SUNY Downstate Medical Center.  I cannot imagine practicing pediatrics without it,” stated Galia Austin-Leon, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Downstate and ROR Medical Consultant.  “My colleagues and I feel it is an integral part of the well-child visit and anticipatory guidance we give.  Moreover, ROR has done wonders for the physician-patient relationship.  No longer do we have timid and frightened children visiting our offices.  Instead, the children are oftentimes very excited about their visits and asking for their books immediately upon entry into the examining room.  It has been rewarding for me to provide books to my patients for all of these years and a privilege to participate in ROR.”



About Reach Out and Read of Greater New York
SUNY Downstate Medical Center is one of six program sites in the 20th New York Senatorial District that participate in ROR, providing books to more than 22,000 children annually.  Across the region, 176ROR program sites serve over 277,000 infants, toddlers and preschoolers each year and distribute over 454,000 books. For more Information about ROR of Greater New York visit




SUNY Downstate Medical Center, founded in 1860, was the first medical school in the United States to bring teaching out of the lecture hall and to the patient’s bedside. A center of innovation and excellence in research and clinical service delivery, SUNY Downstate Medical Center comprises a College of Medicine, Colleges of Nursing and Health Related Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, University Hospital of Brooklyn, and an Advanced Biotechnology Park and Biotechnology Incubator.

SUNY Downstate ranks ninth nationally in the number of alumni who are on the faculty of American medical schools. More physicians practicing in New York City have graduated from SUNY Downstate than from any other medical school. For more information, visit